Test and Stay COVID testing for students begins

Coronavirus Local Impact

(WWLP) – Several schools in Massachusetts will begin Test and Stay COVID testing to students beginning Monday.

The voluntary program is in partnership with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education with CIC Health to operate the program. Parents, guardians need to consent for their child to participate in the school program. Westfield and South Hadley have confirmed to begin the Test and Stay program Monday. 22News contacted DESE for a list of schools that have applied for this type of testing and are waiting to hear back.

Amherst Public Schools says they will also be participating in Test and Stay. Superintendent Michael Morris said, “It allows for frequent, for daily testing of students who are close contact but doesn’t prevent them from attending school. And so we know students missed a lot of the in-person school experience last year and this allows us to provide that for as many kids as possible.”

Test and Stay is conducted when a student is considered a close contact of an in-school person who contracted COVID. The student will be given a rapid antigen test (BinaxNOW) daily for at least five days from the date of exposure, the student may remain at school if the results remain negative. The program is intended for asymptomatic close contacts confirmed with COVID-19.

COVID-19 Testing Program

Following a competitive procurement process, EOHHS and DESE are making diagnostic and (weekly) routine COVID pooled testing services available at no cost to participating districts and schools through the end of the 2021-22 school year, under a single contract with the testing provider CIC Health.

Districts and schools may choose between the below options when completing the Authorized School Application. Participating districts and schools are welcome to change or add testing options throughout the school year; however, to minimize the impact of quarantining due to exposure to COVID-19, it is strongly recommended districts participate in both the diagnostic and Routine COVID Pooled Testing components of the COVID-19 testing program.

Diagnostic Testing:

  • Symptomatic Testing: (for when individuals present symptoms while at school; individuals should not go to school if experiencing symptoms while at home): Shallow nasal swab samples are collected at school using the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test or another approved diagnostic test.
  • “Test and Stay” (close contact testing): Shallow nasal swab samples are collected at school using the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test or another approved diagnostic test. Tests are administered daily from the first day of exposure for at least five (5) days. (Please note, the duration of Test and Stay is seven (7) days with testing occurring on school days. Districts should consult the Protocols for Responding to COVID-19 Scenarios for the implementation protocols for this program.)

Routine COVID Pooled Testing:

Please note, following feedback from families and caregivers, districts are encouraged to use the phrase “routine COVID safety checks” to describe what we previously called “pooled tests” when communicating with families/caregivers.

  • Routine COVID Pooled Testing and School-Based Follow-Up Testing: Shallow nasal swab samples are collected at school and put into a single tube (maximum of 10 samples per tube). If a group tests positive, individual Follow-Up testing with a second sample collection occurs at the school with BinaxNOW and/or individual PCR testing, as necessary.
  • Routine COVID Pooled Testing and Lab-Based Follow-Up Testing: Shallow nasal or saliva samples are collected and kept separate before being grouped at the lab. If a group tests positive, individual Follow-Up testing occurs at the lab, without a second sample collection. Individual test results are reported to the school.

Positive COVID-19 Cases in Schools

Due to power outages across the state the positive COVID-19 case report for October 21–27 will be posted on November 4, 2021.

There were 1,804 students and 350 staff who have tested positive for COVID between October 14 and October 20 in Massachusetts. Below is a list of western Massachusetts schools by district who reported positive cases between October 14 and October 20:

  • Agawam: 9 students, 3 staff
  • Amherst: 1 staff
  • Belchertown: 0
  • Chicopee: 10 students, 1 staff
  • Deerfield: 1 staff
  • Easthampton: 0
  • East Longmeadow: 11 students
  • Erving: 0
  • Granby: 5 students, 1 staff
  • Greenfield: 0
  • Hadley: 0
  • Hatfield: 0
  • Holland: 0
  • Holyoke: 22 students, 2 staff
  • Lee: 0
  • Lenox: 1 student, 1 staff
  • Leverett: 0
  • Longmeadow: 7 students, 3 staff
  • Ludlow: 6 students
  • Monson: 7 students, 2 staff
  • North Adams: 2 students
  • Northampton: 1 student
  • Orange: 0
  • Palmer: 5 students
  • Pelham: 0
  • Pittsfield: 21 students, 1 staff
  • Southampton: 0
  • South Hadley: 4 students
  • Springfield: 46 students, 12 staff
  • Sunderland: 0
  • Westfield: 14 students, 2 staff
  • Westhampton: 0
  • West Springfield: 6 students, 2 staff
  • Whately: 1 student
  • Williamsburg: 1 staff
  • Worthington: 0

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